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Red Cross partners with tech community for refugee hackathon


Last weekend, Red Cross and Melbourne's start-up community put their collective heads together to look at new ways technology can help refugee families settle into the Australian community.

Tuesday April 19, 2016

Red Cross works with Techfugees to hold a hackathon event in Melbourne to find tech solution to issues facing refugees in Australia.
Red Cross works with Techfugees to hold a hackathon event in Melbourne to find tech solution to issues facing refugees in Australia.

Following the success of a similar Sydney last November, Melbourne held its first Techfugees Hackathon with the help of Red Cross. A hackathon brings together people from varied backgrounds to 'hack' technical solutions to a given problem. 

Techfugees is non-profit global movement which looks to address some of the issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers by connecting tech developers, designers, entrepreneurs and startups with non-profit and community organisations.

As a not-for-profit partner in the event, Red Cross provided valuable insight and expertise into the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Red Cross staff, volunteers, and former clients shared their real-life experiences and challenges to inform technical solutions.

Over the weekend, teams developed and put their best creative tech ideas forward to a panel of judges made up from tech and community leaders, with the winning team receiving $5,000 to go and developed their idea. Concepts included an app to help connect migrants with interpreters and an app to help identify and link individuals to friends, mentors, services and employment.

"Hackathons are entirely new for Red Cross but something I hope we see more of. Building connections with the tech community can only benefit us as an organisation," said Vicki Mau, National Manager of Red Cross' Migration Support Programs.

"The ideas that have come out of Techfugees have been really innovative. By being involved in these events and developing new responses to the issues that confront newly-arrived migrants, we're also establishing key networks, connections and partnerships. These are great for Red Cross and invaluable for participants, such as refugees and asylum seekers looking for work and mentors," she said.

Find out more about how Red Cross works with refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants.

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